Back in 2012, Hubspot reported that “there are 3.4 million emails sent every second.” That was 4+ years ago, I can only imagine how many emails are sent ever second now.
After viewing my Inbox post on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then Green Monday, I can totally believe that.
So the question is, how do you tame the inevitable email clutter? Here are some simple steps to help keep your inbox under control:
Clean House: Unsubscribe from as many of your newsletter subscriptions and email lists as possible. Choose just the ones you really enjoy reading or need and dump the rest. If that’s a scary thought, then set up a new email account – like a Gmail account, and re-subscribe with the new email address so everything won’t pile into your email account with all the important stuff.
You can also check out Unroll.me a FREE service that helps users manage their junk email and subscriptions. It allows users to mass unsubscribe from the lists they are no longer interested in, and consolidates the selected subscriptions (the ones they do want to see) into one convenient, daily digest email. Even if all you do it install this little app and then cancel it, I think you’ll be amazed at the number of subscriptions you didn’t realize you even had.It's your life ... don't let an unruly inbox dictate how you live it!Click To Tweet
Separate the wheat from the chaff: When faced with a barrage of emails, divide and conquer. The key is to sort your emails into ones that need immediate attention (and answering) and leave the rest for later. If you can, set up rules (Outlook) or filters (Gmail) to automatically sort email as it comes in, your inbox won’t look as scary and overwhelming. Then you can check folders and tagged items as needed. Some find it helps to create a bulk folder or tag for email that can be read or handled at a later time.
You can also check out SaneBox which has a very unique filtering system created to prioritize important emails and summarize the rest in an effort to save us from the drowning feeling we get every time we open our email inbox. You can read more about it in a blog post I wrote not too long ago.
Out with the Old: This step may be very hard for some, but you really need to get rid of all those old messages. If you can’t bring yourself to delete them, create a special email folder and call it Old Stuff or Emails 2012 or something like that. If you use Outlook, ARCHIVE them! Just get them off your radar and out of your main feed so they don’t hit you in face every time you open your inbox!
In today’s digital world, Email is an absolute necessity. However, it can also be a major distraction. If you’re constantly responding to email, you’re being pulled away from the things that you need or want to do. If it makes sense for you and doesn’t inhibit your ability to stay up–to-date with projects and client work, try checking it hourly. But whatever you do … if your inbox is out of hand and creating more stress in your life, do whatever it is you need to do to tame it and get it under control.
It’s your life … don’t let an unruly inbox dictate how you live it!
Also published on Medium.